Skip to main content

Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

Danzig, and the growing herrenvolk attitude of the German officials towards
Poles, made it absolutely impossible for there to be any arrangement on
those lines ... In conclusion, I want to say a word about the movement of
population ... I do not think it is impossible, and, if it is the only way to
solve this problem of the Corridor., as I am convinced it is. then we have
got to face it. The House should remember that there were certain popula-
tions of Polish descent when East Prussia was under Polish suzerainty.
cc Now I come to the question of what we are going to do now. If I may
say so., of the comments and the criticisms I have heard, there has only been
one alternative policy suggested; which was to wait until the Peace Confer-
ence to settle these matters and to hold our hands meanwhile and make no
commitment . . . One of rny hon. Friends asked why we did not do that
originally ? My reply is that we foresaw this position arising, with Russian
armies advancing through Poland., with no understanding whatever with
the Polish Government., which we were convinced represented majority
opinion in Poland., and with no arrangements of any kind; no civil affair
agreement other than some administration being set up to carry on the
Government somehow, or else it being done direct by the Russians. We
saw all the friction which would inevitably result. We knew, because the
Russians told us this, that they were prepared to make, with M. Mikolajczyk's
Government, if the frontier could be settled, an arrangement similar to the
one they had with the Czechs and similar to the one we have with the Belgian,
the Dutch and the French."
Mr. Petherick : " May I point out that that is not an absolutely fair
analogy ? We are advancing through Holland and Belgium now^ but not
claiming the right to annex Holland and Belgium.3>
Mr. Eden : " My hon. Friend has not understood my observation. What
I said was that if we could have got an understanding between the Soviets
and M. Mikolajczyk's Government we knew the Soviet Government would
make a civil affairs agreement with the Polish Government on the same lines
as we have made one with the Belgians and the French. Such an agree-
ment should have provided for the setting up of a Polish administration
which would have the confidence of the Polish people, and we should have
avoided those incidents and troubles, perhaps serious troubles, which we
are likely to see when there is no agreement. That is the reason why we
took this risk, and, if you like, burnt our fingers, but it was a case in which,
if we had not made this attempt, there would inevitably have been these
difficulties.
" What is the position now ? . . . I must honestly say that, at present, the
prospects of agreement are pretty bleak. They are, honestly, not as good
between this Polish Government and the Soviet as they were between the
previous Polish Government and the Soviet Government; but if there was
any opportunity, despite the risks, and I know what they are, I think it
would still be our duty to try ... It is quite likely that we shall fail and not
get another opportunity. If that happens, what is our position ? We re-
cognise this Government here in London as we recognised its predecessor.
The subject will then have to wait for the Peace Conference ..."
On the day following the debate,, Arciszewski replied to Churchill in
an interview in the Sunday Times:
** I still believe that all outstanding problems could be settled provided
the right atmosphere for discussions was created and the proper methods
for settling international questions were applied. I am aware that time is
short, but a quick settlement may result in a short-lived success which may
397